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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

I'll be moving to a new office on the Kings Cross development in the next couple of months and am considering starting to cycle to work. I haven't done any cycling as an adult apart from pootling along the river Lea and find the prospect of launching myself onto London roads rather worrying. Does anyone know of cycle training that is available locally for scaredy-cats like me? Also, recommendations for reasonably priced brands of sit-up-and beg bikes, the kind ridden sedately by Miss Marple, wouldn't come amiss. Cheers.

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One other thing - there's a big industry out there trying to persuade you you need to spend a lot of money on performance equipment, clothes, safety gear etc, and there are a lot of people who have bought into it and will tell you the same. You really, really don't need most of it.

I cycle 7 miles to work, but I try not to go very fast, so I don't need performance kit and I don't need a shower at work. I just need a few glasses of water, ten minutes to cool down and a change of clothes.

I have a 1932 Raleigh 3 speed bike with rod brakes, and I commuted to the City every day on that for quite a few months. Yet to read the cycling press and some of the forums, you'd think unless you have a sub 10Kg carbon fibre frame, disc brakes and a pocket full of energy gels you might as well give up and go home, you'll never even make it to the end of the road.

The reality is that for most of us a sports-oriented bike is both more expensive and less practical than the type of sit up and beg you are thinking of.

If you turn into someone who wants to use their commute as a sports activity that's different of course. But the point is you don't HAVE to.

Get a brompton, bikes just can't be locked up outside in London, they always get nicked eventually or kicked in. Only a brompton is a bike for life. Everything can retro fit with a Brompton. You can also buy it on the cycle to work scheme and get the tax knocked off.

Smaller wheels also means much more nippy from standing than most bikes which is what you want in London.
You can replace a lot of second hand Raleighs for the price of a Brompton though. And if you do have to leave it locked up outside at any point it's a very attractive bike for bike thieves.
Why would you ever lock up a Brompton outside ? It's like locking a small suite case to a fence, you just don't do it.

A second hand Brompton also costs £400. Not bad for a bike for life.

Why? off the top of my head...

  • to join my colleagues for an after-work swifty in a standing room only bar
  • to try on lovely frocks in a posh boutique
  • because I've changed into said lovely frock to join said colleagues on an impromptu visit to someone's favourite restaurant
  • because I want to pop into the 24 hr shop with the micro-aisles for a pint of milk on the way home

If a bike is going to fit my lifestyle it's got to ... well, fit into my lifestyle!

Why would you ever buy a vehicle you can't leave outside?

You can get a little bag that goes over the Brompton so it looks like a bag. It also glides like a suitcase on wheels. No problem.

Yep, because suitcase-sized, bulky and unwieldy are three things I can never get enough of when I'm choosing a handbag  even better if there's muddy wheels and an oily chain in the mix

A suitcase on wheels is convenient compared to a suitcase not on wheels, but it's not as convenient as not having a suitcase at all.

Sorry FPR, you aren't going to convince me that having to carry a brompton any time I'm not riding it is more convenient than locking a cheap bike up outside.

I've got a few bikes, including a Brompton, and the Brompton probably gets used least.

It's useful at times, particularly when heading out of London on the train but humping it around can be a hassle. On Thursday for instance I will be locking my cheaper bike up with a good lock before going to the pub to watch football rather than trying to squeeze in with a brompton.

In fact I actually have too many bikes if anyone is looking to buy a commuter bike, would suit someone short-ish http://www.harringayonline.com/forum/topics/single-speed-bike-for-s...

I'm not trying to convince you of anything Lsquared, just making a suggestion to Michael. You don't get any mud or oil as the wheels come folded within the frame and it all can be covered in the night bag.

I also love being able fold it up and take it on the tube when it pours down with rain or if I'm not up for the return shlep home or had one too many in that bar you were talking about ... but as always, each to there own.
Lot of food for thought. I must say I'm attracted by the idea of stowing a bike on the train if the weather is inclement but I think on balance I'll probably go for a cheapy at first until I find my feet (so to speak)
Don't forget, you're going to have to factor in a load or dosh for the very best locks if you go down that road but good luck, it's a thrilling way of keeping fit whatever you decide.

In terms of locks, this is probably the best security for the price, it's not light though and may be a bit of overkill




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